A Traveler in Time by Alison Uttley. Originally published in 1939.
I found this copy for 50p and held out both hands to claim it, as though reaching out to take the hands of an old friend. I hadn’t seen for some time.
I first came across this book during my first year of secondary school, in the school library.
It was a book I came to borrow, unashamedly, many times over. And a book that has written itself into my imagination and literary DNA in so many ways.
For me, this story captures that visceral, tangible delight of
someone who has a love of history, the past and the fascination of lives lived in other times.
It is also a book rich in imagery; it is about old oak cupboards piled high with linen, scented with lavender and rosemary. It is about pewter candlesticks and patchwork counterpanes.
It is about tea-time by the fire, and plates of hot roasted potatoes ladled with butter and cream.
It is the sound of the lonely church bells at night, and the screech of the barn owl flying across a silver moon.
It is the the hypnotic feel of smooth, polished wood paneling running against a child’s palm, and discovering it leads to secret chambers and hidden passageways.
It is the story of ghosts, and walking amongst them.
Above all it is a book for families. It should be read aloud to eager ears, with the curtains drawn, and the night beyond.
It is about slowing it all down - stopping to delight in its captivating storytelling and being taken far beyond its mere well-thumbed pages.
It is slow reading as oppose to fast scrolling.
Let’s have an adventure.